Novel Roles for Vitamins & Subclinical Deficiencies
Vitamins are essential micronutrients, many of which are cofactors for families of enzymatic reactions. Severe vitamin deficiencies result in life-threatening conditions. In developed nations, over 30% of the population is believed to have subclinical vitamin deficiencies. We aim to understand the genetic, nutritional and metabolic causes of such subclinical deficiencies, with the goal of developing personalized nutritional therapies. This work will allow us to better understand the fundamentals of vitamin metabolism, find novel roles for vitamins and develop new treatments.
There is abundant anecdotal evidence that vitamin supplementation is protective across a range of metabolic disorders. Vitamin deficiencies can have devastating effects on health (e.g. beriberi, pellagra). Such conditions can result from states of malnutrition (e.g. alcoholism or starvation) or can be secondary to genetic defects in transport/activation systems. It is logical that vitamin supplementation should help in such states of direct deficiencies. However, the exact metabolic pathways that are affected by each vitamin deficiency and the broader category of diseases that are likely to benefit, remains unknown. We aim to develop megavitamin therapy for inborn-errors-of-metabolism and more common metabolic conditions.